The secret of the Bulgarian Easter bread (kozunak)

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Bulgarian/Greek Kozunak on thread

(We changed this recipe slightly, but took it from

Ingredients needed

4 + 1 room temperature eggs
200 g sugar + 2 tablespoons for sprinkling (for better puffing, they say, you can use fruit sugar or a mixture between sugar and stevia in the appropriate ratio, because too much sugar interfered with rising)
250 ml fresh milk at room temperature or warmer
750 g sifted flour (for a cake, they say to have a high protein index - 11 g), 50 g more if necessary
1 cube of yeast
1 lemon
1 vanilla
1 tbsp cognac, rum
150 ml fat (divided equally between butter and lard, or butter and oil)
100 g peeled almonds
300 g raisins and cranberries
1 pinch of salt

In a bowl, crush the yeast. Add 1 teaspoon of the sugar, 100 ml of the warm milk and 2 tablespoons of flour. Stir and let the yeast activate. Dissolve the sugar in the remaining warm fresh milk.
Add to the sweetened milk the eggs, from which you have separated 1 (you will brush the cake with it before baking). Beat until smooth and add the grated lemon zest, salt and vanilla. Reserve the remaining 50 ml. for mixing.
To the activated yeast, add the sweetened milk with the eggs. Make a well in the flour and pour in the liquid ingredients. Take a little flour at a time to make your dough smooth and elastic. A quick intake of flour will make the dough stiff and shaggy. If you have a food processor you can use it to knead the dough.
Your dough should be soft and elastic. To this dough, add the remaining melted fat a few times. With each addition, stretch and fold the dough. You don’t need to beat the dough into the counter. Just knead. Once the dough has absorbed the fat, let the cobbler rise. Put it in a container that you have greased and cover the container to prevent the dough from catching the crust. The rising time varies. It depends on the heat in the room. For me, this time is about an hour and a half. The dough should triple its volume.
You can divide the finished dough in half and make two smaller kozunaks or you can make 1 large one. (Depending on the size of the kozunak is the baking time – 30 minutes for a smaller one and 45 minutes for 1 whole one.) Divide each piece into three roughly equal parts. Stretch each part and form into a narrow strip. In order to add raisins, sprinkle the strip with them (soak the raisins in the alcohol and warm milk/water for 20-30 minutes beforehand and drain them before adding). Twist each strip. With the three twisted strips, braid as for hair.
If you are making round cobblers, twist the braid like a snail and place in the tray. The other option is to bake them without twisting them in rectangular cake pans. Grease the trays very lightly or line them with baking paper. The cake should re-risen for about 40-45 minutes in front of the stove, that you’ve turned on to 50 degrees with blow-by.
Brush the risen cobbler with egg white and sprinkle with sugar and nuts, if desired. Bake in a preheated oven for 10 minutes at 200 degrees and then at 170 degrees. Baking time depends on the size of the cobbler. After baking for 35 minutes check for doneness with a wooden skewer. As soon as there is no dough on the skewer, the Kozunak is ready

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